So I have had a ton of people asking me what happened to me last week. It’s a very long story and it’s gets taxing trying to explain it over and over. Not to mention bringing back a lot of very strong emotions. I’ve decided to write this so I can be lazy and just say “Here, you can read it on my website!”. I’ll be writing a TLDWR (Too Long Didn’t Wanna Read) version, then later I’ll go into more detail.
So on to the TLDWR.
Back in 2013 I was between jobs and got behind on child support. The state of Florida sent me nasty letters saying if I didn’t start paying up, they would take my driver’s license away. To their credit, they made good on that threat and I lost my legal ability to drive. Which of course made finding work more difficult. Afterwards, they stated that they would put a warrant out for my arrest if I didn’t start paying.
Well, like a scared rat I started scurrying around for a way out of this predicament. I got in touch with the mother of my children and let her know what was about to happen. Through much effort on her part, she was not only able to get some forgiveness for some of the back child support, but also managed to get the state off my back for a time. I received one more letter from the state threatening to file a warrant. The letter was written before the aforementioned salvation but that didn’t make me any less uneasy. I spoke to a police officer and asked him if the warrant went through. He checked it out and stated that there were no warrants for my arrest. So all was good…. Or so I thought.
Monday, November 20th, 2017 I arrived at work around 3:45 am as I usually do. Because the parking lot is usually empty and very dark, often a Walton County Sheriff will stop in and make sure everything is okay. Normally when I tell them I work there and they see I’m in work attire they leave me alone. This time, however, the officer decided to run my license. I had no problem with this of course as it’s been many years since I’ve been pulled over and I have no criminal record. But, apparently, there was a warrant out for my arrest.
While the officer was running checking the system, my boss showed up and asked if everything was okay. The officer, after confirming he was the manager, advised him that he may have to take me in but needed to confirm it first. Well, he did take me in. My boss was very confused and even told the officer that our company has been faithfully deducting the payments from my pay. To no avail, he arrested me!
So, I spent nearly a week in jail. Sure, most people would shrug that off as no big deal, but to me, it was a very big deal. I watched as real criminals would get arrested, and be out on bail or what have you, within hours, but I had to stay there until something called a ‘Purge’ was done. This purge was a child support payment of $1500. No bail, No bond, and I still don’t even know what that even means. I have a good idea, but not really.
After a few days, I was transferred to Jacksonville, FL where I had to go through the whole arrest process over again (aka booking). Then I was treated to spending more time in the Duval County jail system until someone could pay my ‘Purge’. Isn’t the point of child support so that the non-custodial parent would pay to help support the children, not for someone else to do it? Anyway… That’s a discussion for another time.
When I got out, I finally was able to speak to someone about my case. Yes, the entire time there I was never able to speak to anyone. So much for “You have the right to an attorney”. I went to the courthouse and spoke to someone at the Florida Office of the Attorney General – Child Support Enforcement Bureau. She looked up my record and saw where my ‘Rears Forgiveness’ was received and processed. She saw where my license was suspended and that it was re-instated. She then saw where the warrant was placed and told me that this was a ‘mistake’ and that it should not have gone through.
I know I said this would be the short version… so imagine how the long version will be. So there you have it. That is why I was arrested…. A fucking mistake on the part of our wonderful system. Welcome to Florida!